Native leaders in central Wisconsin are calling for modifications soon after a trainer at Wausau West Higher College dressed up in a stereotypical Native American costume for a course lesson.
On Friday, the Wausau Faculty District issued a public apology and stated it would carry out a “complete assessment of our curriculum” after the instructor was photographed by a college student and the incident unfold on social media. In a press event Monday afternoon, Indigenous American leaders mentioned the district should really go further than that and rethink how and by whom Indigenous history is taught.
“Our intention is to problem Wausau to make improvements to its curriculum and to produce a design method … that would make the local community happy and engages people today genuinely strongly,” said Barb Munson, a member of the Oneida Nation and a longtime state activist for retiring the use of Native mascots.
The use of the Indigenous costume by a teacher surfaced last week when the father of a Native university student in the course shared in a Facebook publish a photograph depicting a teacher wearing braids and a headband even though training a historical past lesson. The father, Biskakone Greg Johnson, did not reply to a message from WPR. He explained to the Wausau Day-to-day Herald past week that the teacher’s steps “cheapened the total experience of Indigenous American history.”
Activists steered obvious of putting blame on the particular person trainer, whose name was not produced by the district. As an alternative, they concentrated on what they reported are systemic troubles of stereotyping and dehumanization in the educating of Native society.
“This occasion has shown that our educators and district directors may perhaps not be knowledgeable that these forms of bias incidents are harmful to all pupils, not just American Indian pupils,” said Karena Thundercloud, an elected Ho Chunk chief from Black River Falls.
In 2019, Wausau was a state leader in a force to retire the use of Indigenous mascots and imagery at districts throughout the state. Then-Wausau Faculty Board president Tricia Zunker, who is a Ho Chunk Supreme Court docket justice, led that effort, which captivated guidance from 18 faculty districts throughout the point out. Zunker, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2020, misplaced a re-election to the college board in April.
At Monday’s push meeting, Zunker known as on the Wausau Faculty District to perform with tribal leaders and the condition Office of General public Instruction’s director of American Indian scientific tests to strengthen its indigenous studies curriculum. That simply call was echoed by a letter to the Wausau Faculty Board from the Wisconsin Indian Education Affiliation.
In its assertion apologizing to college students and mother and father that was shared with media, the Wausau College District termed the lesson “a enormous mistake” and claimed the district “failed to recognize the disrespect we confirmed the lifestyle and heritage of the men and women we portrayed.”